Kashmir-A Valley of Distress
By Ali Sukhanver
Under the Hague Convention: Article 23 of the Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land adopted by the First Hague Conference especially prohibited employing “poison and poisoned arms.” The Chemical Weapons Convention 1993 also put a ban on the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and their precursors. International law too prohibited the use of chemical weapons in 1899. In short the whole world has been doing sincerely all its best to save humanity from the hazards of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons mean specialized munitions that use chemicals formulated to inflict death or harm on humans. Nerve gas, tear gas and pepper spray are three modern examples of chemical weapons. “The term chemical weapon may also be applied to any toxic chemical or its precursor that can cause death, injury, temporary incapacitation or sensory irritation through its chemical action,” says the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. But it seems there is no one to keep an eye on the use of chemical weapon in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The helpless Kashmiris are suffering from very horrible consequences of these chemical weapons used by the Indian troops. They are facing serious skin diseases, breathing problems and many of them are even unaware of the fact that these chemical weapons are poisoning them slowly and steadily pushing towards a painful death. Pakistan has raised its voice against this brutality of the Indian troops so many times on different international forums but no one paid any heed to it.
Be it 2017 or 2006, situation is always the same in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Here is an extract from a speech delivered by Edolphus Towns eleven years back in 2006. He is a prominent American politician who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 2013. He is a Democrat from New York and had been Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from 2009 to 2011. He made this speech in the House of Representatives. He said, “I was disturbed to find out that India has been using chemical weapons in its war against the freedom fighters of Kashmir. Reuters, CNN, the BBC, the Associated Press, and others have all reported that India fired chemical weapons shells into Pakistan. Remember that India’s nuclear tests last year started the nuclear arms race in South Asia.” The same year Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh, President of the Council of Khalistan also expressed the same thought in a statement. He said, “In war, people get killed, and that is unfortunate. Countries that are moral and democratic do not deliberately kill civilians but the Indian government has murdered over 250,000 Sikhs since 1984. India has also murdered over 200,000 Christians in Nagaland since 1947, more than 60,000 Muslims in Kashmir since 1988, and tens of thousands of Assamese, Manipuris, Dalits, Tamils and others.” The story of cruelty and brutality is still going on; not even a slight change. The people of the Indian Occupied Kashmir are prisoners at the hands of the Indian troops there. They have no liberty, no freedom and no basic human rights. A recent report on human rights abuses in the Indian Occupied Kashmir says, “Crimes by militants are said to be incomparable with the larger scale abuse by Indian state forces. Some rights groups say close to 100,000 people have died since 1989 while the official figures from Indian sources state the estimates of number of civilians killed due to the insurgency in the range of 16,725 to 47,000 civilians, in which 3,642 civilians were killed by security forces. The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society organization states that there have been over 70,000 killings, 8000 plus forced disappearances, mass torture and sexual violence, the majority committed by Indian armed forces, and that these cases have had zero prosecution in civilian courts.” In short situation of human rights violation particularly against the Muslims and other minorities is getting serious and serious not only in the valley of Kashmir but in the whole country. There is an evident air of rage and hatred against the Modi government throughout India with reference to the human rights violation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. A few weeks back, in an open letter to the Modi government, 65 senior retired officials from different Central Services of India expressed their reservations on atrocities against the Muslims in India and the Indian Occupied Kashmir. These officers included many retired Chief Secretaries, Ambassadors and officers from the Armed Forces of India. The letter said, “A sense of deep disquiet at what has been happening in India has prompted us to write this open letter. Disagreement and dissent are considered seditious and anti-national. There is a growing climate of religious intolerance that is aimed primarily at Muslims and other minorities including the Sikhs and the Christians and even against the low-caste Hindus. Punitive action against the perpetrators of violence does not take place promptly but cruelly, the victims have FIRs registered against them.” It seems that hard days for Kashmiris would never end up unless the countries like US and UK step forward to help them.